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Friday round-up

At, Kent Faulk reports that “Alabama on Thursday night executed 83-year-old Walter Leroy Moody for the 1989 pipe bombing death of a federal judge,” and that Moody “became the oldest inmate executed in the United States since the return of executions in the 1970s.” For The Washington Post, Mark Berman reports that “Moody unsuccessfully appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday to stop the execution.”

Courtney Lollar analyzes Wednesday’s argument in Lagos v. United States, which asks whether private investigation costs and a victim’s attorney’s fees are considered compensable losses under the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act, for this blog. At Law360 (subscription required), Jimmy Hoover reports that “[t]he federal government faced headwinds … while defending a roughly $16 million restitution order against a former trucking company CEO who defrauded General Electric Capital Corp., as various justices voiced skepticism that the CEO should have to pay GE’s pricey legal fees under a federal victim’s restitution law.”

This blog’s analysis of Wednesday’s other argument, in Washington v. United States, in which the justices considered the scope of tribal fishing rights, comes from Miriam Seifter. According to Andrew Westney at Law360 (subscription required), “several justices seemed to have difficulty deciding the standard to apply to the tribes’ ‘right of taking fish’ under their 19th century treaties with the federal government as well as defining exactly how the appropriate standard should be applied.”


  • At The Economist’s Democracy in America blog, Steven Mazie breaks down Tuesday’s oral argument in South Dakota v. Wayfair, in which the justices will reconsider a ruling that limits the ability of state governments to require out-of-state online retailers to collect sales tax on sales to state residents, reporting that “conflicting claims [made in the case] seemed to befuddle Justice Stephen Breyer, who may hold the key vote.” [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the petitioner in this case.]
  • Counting to 5 (podcast) look[s] at two new opinions in argued cases, and … preview[s] the six cases the Court will be hearing in the second week of the April oral argument session.”
  • In the latest episode of the Heritage Foundation’s SCOTUS 101 podcast, Elizabeth Slattery and Tiffany Bates “break down [Justice Neil] Gorsuch’s ‘liberal’ vote in an immigration case and oral argument in the internet sales tax case” and talk to “Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller … about Anthony Kennedy, Ted Cruz, and the sweet mystery of life.”
  • The Open File’s Prosecutorial Accountability blog maintains that the cert petition in Williams v. Louisiana “exemplifies the problem with the prosecutorial bar in Louisiana, and presents the U.S. Supreme Court with an opportunity to enforce Brady in a case with a particularly vulnerable defendant who—in addition to being an intellectually-disabled juvenile at the time of the crime—appears to be innocent.”
  • At his eponymous blog, Ed Mannino explains how “the famous commencement speech of Alexander Solzhenitsyn at Harvard University in 1978 … regarding the decline of the West has application to the situation presented” in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, in which the court will decide whether the First Amendment bars Colorado from requiring a baker to create a cake for a same-sex wedding.
  • At the Sentencing Law and Policy Blog, Douglas Berman observes that “the appellate review of sentences — and all of federal sentencing under advisory Guidelines — would benefit significantly from the Court’s further guidance on the contours of reasonableness review,” and suggests that a pending cert petition in Ford-Bey v. United Statesoffers the court an opportunity to provide such guidance.
  • At PrawfsBlawg, Roderick Hills discusses a case on the court’s docket for next term, Gundy v. United States, which asks “whether SORNA (the federal Sex Offender Registry Law) violates the so-called “non-delegation doctrine” (NDD) by delegating to the Attorney General the decision about whether SORNA should apply retroactively,” concluding that “if the Court wanted to resurrect a mini-NDD to prohibit Congress from making completely standardless delegations of retroactivity issues to executive officials, then Gundy might be a good vehicle with which to do so.”
  • At Take Care, David Gans weighs in on Trump v. Hawaii, a challenge to the latest version of the Trump administration’s entry ban, arguing that “[t]he Supreme Court should hold the ban unconstitutional for a simple reason: it is a throwback to religious restrictions on immigration that were part of colonial religious establishments in 17thand 18th century America.”
  • At Vogue, John Powers calls “the new celebratory documentary RBG” “an engrossing, sometimes quite moving story” about the career and influence of “improbable icon” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Friday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 20, 2018, 7:22 AM),